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An acquired global impairment of intellect, memory and personality in the presence of normal consciousness and perception

Common causes

  • Alzheimer’s disease (c. 60%)
  • Vascular (multi-infarct) dementia (10-20%)
  • Lewy body disease (c. 20%)

Differential diagnosis includes acute confusion and depression. Investigations need to exclude any treatable causes. All patients need referral for specialist assessment and management. Medication is not curative, but may slow progress of the disease. Dementia is progressive, and carers will need support.

NICE QS184. Dementia; 2019

NICE NG97. Dementia: assessment, management and support for people living with dementia and their carers; June 2018 

NICE TA217 Alzheimer's disease Donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine and memantine for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease; 2011 (Updated 2018)

Alzheimer’s Society. About dementia

Practice Nurse featured articles

A guide to vascular dementia Margaret Perry  

Dementia – a personal perspective Katherine Hunt 

Improving diagnosis of dementia - the role of the practice nurse Zena Aldridge, Karen Harrison Dening 

Pain in dementia: a multi-modal approach to assessment and management Cathy Knight, Karen Harrison Dening

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